The Houston Dynamo struck early and often, netting two goals in the first eight minutes, then held on for a 2-0 win over Chivas USA Saturday night at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Houston earned its first road win of the 2010 season and moved into exclusive possession of second place in the Western Conference. Midfielder Brad Davis was at the center of both goals, scoring the first and setting up the second.
The Dynamo (4-3-1) are now unbeaten in 11 consecutive games (8-0-3) against Chivas USA and have won the season series from Chivas USA with a 2-0 head-to-head record. Houston has now followed all three of its losses with shutout wins; the Dynamo have not recorded the same result twice in a row at any point this season.
Playing their third game in eight days, the Dynamo welcomed Craig Waibel and Adrian Serioux to the back line for their first starts of the season, and midfielder Richard Mulrooney came back into the lineup for the first time since April 10, putting Houston in an unusual 4-5-1 formation to match Chivas USA's five-man midfield.
Houston took the lead in just the fourth minute. Craig Waibel stole a pass at midfield and played the ball wide to Brian Mullan, who played a curving long ball behind the Chivas USA back line. Midfielder Brad Davis reached the ball first and hit a sliding lob that cleared goalkeeper Zach Thornton and dipped just below the crossbar for the opening goal. It was the third goal of the year for Davis, a team high.
The Dynamo doubled their advantage and took control of the game in the eighth minute, when Brad Davis served a corner kick from the left, and Adrian Serioux rose to power the ball into the back of the net at the edge of the six-yard box. It was Serioux's first goal in almost exactly one year - since scoring for Toronto on May 9, 2009 - and his first for the Dynamo since August 19, 2006.
The two goals in the first eight minutes were the Dynamo's earliest pair of tallies since they scored two goals in the first five minutes on September 19, 2009, against Real Salt Lake.
From there, the Dynamo defended well for their third shutout of the season, holding Chivas USA to just two shots on goal. Veteran goalkeeper Pat Onstad recorded the shutout with two saves, earning his 65th win for the Dynamo in all competitions in the process.
By playing in Saturday's game, Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad - the league's all-time leader in goals against average at 1.05 - also became the oldest player in league history at 42 years, 115 days, surpassing Preki (42 years, 113 days in 2005). Onstad was already the oldest player in league history to start, play 90 minutes, and do almost anything as a goalkeeper.
Midfielder Brad Davis - last year's team MVP with five goals and 12 assists in the regular season - now leads the Dynamo in goals (3) and is tied for the team lead in assists (3).
In other milestones, midfielder Brad Davis made his 125th career start for the Dynamo in all competitions; midfielder Corey Ashe made his 110th appearance for Houston in all competitions; and defender Bobby Boswell made his 90th start for Houston in all competitions.
The Dynamo started without forwards Brian Ching (hamstring), Luis Ángel Landín (concussion), Joseph Ngwenya (ITC paperwork), and Cam Weaver (knee); midfielder Geoff Cameron (PCL surgery); and defender Eddie Robinson (knee).
Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear
"Great start to the game. Two great passes of play, took advantage of a set piece, and then I hate to say we held on, but we did. I think we would’ve made it easier on ourselves if we could’ve moved the ball a little better and held the ball a little bit better, but they put a lot of pressure on us and were throwing guys forward, and we couldn’t really play out of it. In the end, sometimes you’ve got to defend, and we did a lot of that tonight. In the end, we’re happy with the three points."
"It was a great ball by Brad [Davis], and Adrian [Serioux] rises really well; a great header. You’ve still got to finish it off, but we just took advantage of the chances we had, and if we would’ve just held the ball a little bit better, it would’ve made the game a little bit easier. But you’ve got to give credit to them, they were all over us and knocking the ball around pretty well, and luckily we didn’t give up too many clear-cut chances in front of goal."
Dynamo defender Craig Waibel
"We’ve been a bit of a roller coaster. Injuries and schedule – there’s absolutely no question that guys are stepping up. One of the things that happens, as you know, young teams are inconsistent. The big thing for us is to be consistent by the middle of the season. Let’s not take three quarters of the season to try to learn how to play every game. Right now, we’re still going up and down, but we’re getting our feet under us. I think tonight was a good example of some of the young boys starting to understand what possession is and what the value is. Obviously we bunkered in a little bit in the second half, but taking a lead on the road, that’s what you do."
Dynamo defender Adrian Serioux
"It’s actually one of those things that we practice the day before, and Waibel and I talked about it before the game. It’s one of those things that you try to utilize the first corner that you’ve got, because it doesn’t give them time to prepare and really get acquainted with it. Waibel gave me a great pick, caught the guy off-guard. I guess they didn’t switch in time, and Brad Davis crossed a great ball, and I just rose up to the occasion and got it on frame. I just wanted to put enough power into to make sure that the goalie, if he did get a finger on it, that it was just a little too much for him."